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Moyer eager for his Game 3 chance

Moyer eager for his Game 3 chance

DENVER -- At age 44, taking the ball with the season on the line remains a dream for Jamie Moyer.

If the Phillies are to continue what's becoming a dream season, they will need Moyer to step up in Saturday's must-win Game 3 of the National League Division Series with the Rockies at Coors Field.

After the Phils dropped the first two in Philadelphia, the best-of-five series picks up once again in a city starved for playoff success.

Moyer, nearly a 20-year MLB veteran, relishes the chance to keep his club's chances alive.

"[There's] not a better place to be, that's why I'm here," said Moyer, who turns 45 in November. "I would hope that's why all my teammates are here, too. From a pitcher's aspect, I would hope they would want the ball. This is what you dream about, what you play for, and it's exciting."

For most of the Phillies, playoff baseball is something totally new. In the first two games, they ran out a pair of 23-year-old starters in Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick.

The seasoned Moyer offers a different style and look. He finished the regular season with a 14-12 record with a 5.01 ERA, logging 199 1/3 innings in 33 starts.

Moyer is at his best when he keeps opposing hitters off balance with his changeup, sinker, curveball and fastball that rarely reaches 85 mph.

"Jamie can get you out in so many different ways," pitching coach Rich DuBee said. "His changeup is vitally important to him. But this guy also throws a sinker ball in on righties, [and] he throws a curveball."

Taking the mound in a high-stakes game, Moyer takes a "keep it simple" approach.

"We're taught the simple things in the game from Little League to this level," Moyer said. "Now you get to this level, it's not an easy game, but there is still a simplicity of things: get ahead, make pitches when you need to make pitches, rely on your defense, and go from there, from a pitcher's standpoint."

Moyer hopes to feed off previous playoff experience. He last saw October action in 2001 while with the Mariners.

As much as players tend to talk down the experience factor of the postseason, Moyer readily admits that having been there helps.

"When you bought your first car, was it new? Of course it was. It's different. It's a different environment," the left-hander said.

Another thing experience has taught him is that momentum in the playoffs can reverse itself quickly.

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"It can change drastically from pitch to pitch, from inning to inning," Moyer said.

All season, the Phillies watched their fortunes turn. Their season started off at 4-11, and in September, they steamrolled to the NL East title after being seven games behind the Mets in the standings with 17 to play.

The characteristics that got them into the postseason to begin with are what Moyer hopes they rediscover beginning Saturday.

Moyer noted that so much of the team's success rides on Jimmy Rollins' ability to get things rolling from the leadoff spot.

"He sets the tone offensively for us," Moyer said. "He got on base, whether it was via the home run, extra-base hit. He got the ball rolling for us.

"When we played at home, if the starting pitcher went out and got three quick outs, that helped a little bit, too. We played, for the most part, pretty much mistake-free baseball. We got key hits when we needed them, and everybody contributed. That's what it takes to win."

Pitching in hitter-friendly Coors Field will be a different experience for Moyer, who admits he hasn't thrown in Colorado enough times to get a feel for the altitude.

On July 7, the lefty suffered a loss at Coors Field, giving up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. It was just his second career start at the park.

"I don't feel like I have enough history here to make judgment on how the ball carries, and things like that," Moyer said. "The only thing I know about here is the dimensions are fairly large because of the altitude. The league has tried to make adjustments with the humidor [where balls used at Coors Field are kept]. You've got to go out and pitch and play the game."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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